New VRDC VR/AR Innovation Report reveals the HTC Vive is devs’ top target

Today the UBM Game Network, organizer of the Game Developers Conference and the Virtual Reality Developers Conference, is proud to present the second annual VRDC VR/AR Innovation Report!

It’s packed with insight gleaned from surveying over 600 professionals involved in the development of virtual/augmented/mixed reality experiences, and offers an exclusive glimpse into the VR/AR/MR industry — from platform preferences, to market challenges, platform availability, funding and more.

For more information and to download the report, download it for free here!

As the world of VR, AR, and MR expands, UBM Game Network continues its work of providing industry professionals with opportunities to learn from each other and maintain their place on the cutting edge.

To that end, VRDC Fall 2017 will take place in San Francisco from September 21-22, 2017 and will bring together creators of immersive experiences of all kinds—including games, entertainment, brand experience, healthcare, training, design, and more.

Register for VRDC Fall 2017 early at a discounted rate!

After a year in which VR and AR established themselves as viable, energetic industries — through major investment from companies like Google and Microsoft, the debut of consumer-grade headsets like the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, and software phenomenons like Pokemon Go — it’s clear that these maturing markets are continuing to expand and evolve.

Some of the many interesting findings from this survey include a clear rise in the popularity of the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift among industry professionals, an increasing interest in developing platform-exclusive experiences, and an understanding that most devs believe VR is a profitable, sustainable industry — but only in the mid- to long-term.

The full report lays out these learnings in much more detail, providing valuable takeaways on current trends critical to the growth of VR/AR/MR development. Here’s a sample of some of the findings:

What kinds of experiences are VR/AR/MR developers creating?

When we asked survey respondents about the focus or focuses of their current or potential work in VR/AR/MR development, the majority (78 percent) said Games/Entertainment.

The second most popular response proved to be Training/Education, which was selected by 27 percent of respondents. Branded Experiences took third, with 19 percent of respondents saying such productions (think: car showrooms or vacation hotspots, rendered in VR) were focuses of their work.

HTC Vive remains the most popular platform among VR/AR/MR devs — but Rift is poised to close the gap

It’s a perennially important question: what hardware are VR/AR/MR industry professionals targeting, and why?

When we put the question to our survey respondents this year, their responses roughly matched up with the results of our inaugural Innovation Survey last year. When asked which VR, AR, or MR headsets they were targeting right now, more than half (56 percent) of respondents said the HTC Vive. 49 percent said they were targeting the Oculus Rift, and 33 percent said they were developing experiences for Samsung’s Gear VR platform.

More information on platform preferences for surveyed developers’ upcoming games is included in the full VRDC VR/AR Innovation Report!

Compared against last year’s survey results, we see a small but notable uptick in developer interest in the HTC Vive and the Rift. Last year, 49 percent of survey respondents said they were targeting the HTC Vive, 43 percent said Oculus Rift, and 34 percent said Samsung’s Gear VR.

But if we look to the future, it appears as though Rift may be poised for a bit of a resurgence among devs. When we asked our kind survey respondents which VR/AR/MR platform(s) their next project would be released on, 52 percent said HTC Vive, 50 percent said Oculus Rift, and 26 percent said Gear VR. This suggests dev interest in Gear VR is cooling, even as Rift is seemingly becoming a more attractive platform.

Platform exclusives are becoming a bit more common

How many VR/AR industry professionals are making something that will be exclusive to a single platform? About a third, according to our results — roughly 31 percent of survey respondents said their next project would be released exclusively on a single VR/AR/MR platform.

However, that’s up 10 percent from last year, when we asked the same question and got a “Yes” from just 21 percent of respondents. This suggests rising interest in developing an experience for one platform first, perhaps because that’s where they see their greatest chance of success — or simply because they intend to port their work to other platforms at a later date.

When we followed up with devs who answered in the affirmative to find out which platform, exactly, their next project would be exclusively released on, the most popular response proved to be HTC’s Vive headset.

35 percent of devs working on a platform exclusive said it would release exclusively on Vive, 13 percent said Oculus Rift, and another 13 percent said Samsung’s Gear VR headset. 9 percent said “Other,” and just 7 percent said Sony’s PlayStation VR.

What are the biggest unsolved problems facing VR/AR/MR?

While the VR/AR/MR industries have all made significant advances in the last few years, many challenges still remain. When we asked our survey respondents what they thought the biggest unsolved problem of VR, AR, or MR was (in terms of either technology or design), we learned a lot.

Notably, we saw that many still feel like VR’s greatest unsolved problem is the high risk of causing nausea and physical discomfort.

“The biggest issue is definitely the lack of available ‘simulator sickness’ mitigation techniques,” opined one respondent. “Since each VR application offers a unique user experience, no one mitigation technique can service all applications. Future designs must consider the medium/genre they are developing for and continue to investigate new mitigation techniques to ensure optimal user enjoyment.”

“In AR, it’s definitely UIs versus the 3D content overlaid on the real world,” commented someone else. “No one seems to have any idea how to solve a persistent, 2D UI being on screen at the same time as overlaid 3D content without the user’s eyes going utterly cross-eyed.”

What are the most innovative, groundbreaking, or just plain impressive VR/AR/MR experiences created to date?

When we asked for examples of great VR/AR/MR experiences, respondents shared a fantastic array of groundbreaking projects — everything from VR pain management apps to amazing empathy-building games, as well as industry leaders like Pokemon Go and Google Earth VR. You can find all of their suggestions discussed in more detail within the full report.

Media can obtain a copy of the report by contacting the VRDC PR team at VRDCPR@ubm.com.

Since tickets sold out for the first three VRDC events, VRDC Fall 2017 will offer more sessions and move to a bigger location at the Hilton Union Square in San Francisco, CA September 21-22.

For more information on VRDC Fall 2017, visit the show’s official website and subscribe to regular updates via Twitter and Facebook.